Magic, sarcastic humor, a special sense of style and the most incredible Parisian stories. On the birthday of the great couturier, I once again want to say — we will never, ever forget you…
It was snowing during the last Chanel couture show in Paris. The Grand Palais, which had been transformed into an Italian Villa for the duration of the show, seemed to fit into this role uneasily — snowflakes fell on the tropical garden planted along the rows of spectators, through the leaky roof of the Palace.
“This is the last show in the Grand Palais,” they said in the crowd, ” they are closing for reconstruction.” It turned out that this show was also Lagerfeld’s last. When Virginie Viard came out alone to take her bow, and the audience announced in French that the designer was ill, the Grand Palais seemed even colder. A month passed, and Lagerfeld was gone. But it seems that the whole fashion world still can not believe it.
I’m ashamed to say, but in my 13 years in the industry, I’ve never had any contact with him. Each time, the possibility eluded me, like the meaning of Rilke’s favorite designer’s poems. In what stories will Karl Lagerfeld live forever for me? We all know the beacons of his biography — his work at Fendi, Chloé and Chanel, the cartoon brand Karl Lagerfeld. Friendship-enmity with Yves Saint Laurent; Warhol Polaroids from the Factory; 7L bookshop on the Rue de Lille; monochrome photos and sketches that come to life right on paper. We know his “carlisms” — the one about the ugliness of Russian men, once got into all the Russian yellow Newspapers and on television.
But all these descriptions are not the moments in which he will remain alive for me personally. For the first time in my memory, Lagerfeld turned from a “picture” to a “person” when Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks ‘ wife, approached him at a party about twelve years ago after all the couture shows. She told him: “What an amazing collection! What was your inspiration?» Rita was inexperienced and reckless. Lagerfeld gave her a killer look, turned to his companions and said: “This one is boring. Do you think that soon aliens will take over the Earth?» History, of course, has reached these pages like ancient bas-reliefs with battered faces and hands.
A colleague pulled a black bag of white Camellia from under the counter: “Your friend Carl came to give you a present.” There was a 2.55 bag in the bag
Rita Wilson may actually be both keira Knightley and the singer Bjork. It doesn’t matter. The main thing is that the aliens that interested Lagerfeld, as well as me, are much stronger than the outdated collection and fashion trends. “Is this a normal designer who doesn’t like to talk about fashion,” I thought then. “The past fell to dust for him, and only the future made sense,” I think now.
Since then, meeting him has been a big dream of mine. But the orbits still didn’t intersect. Once I walked for two hours through the shabby corridors of Atelier Lesage, which seemed to me then an exact copy of the file of the book chamber on “Kropotkinskaya” — with the only difference that the Paris” branch ” was filled from floor to ceiling with samples of embroidery, voluminous flowers, lace, beads, crystals. “This Russian hasn’t seen everything yet? I could hear the embroidery girls whispering behind me. — Our most important guest is coming, and she’s still here!”» I was prepared to stay there as long as it took to see Carl. Finally, I was politely escorted to the back entrance, where I carefully asked if I could wait for Lagerfeld. “What makes you think it’s Carl? We are waiting for Princess Rania.” And they must have cheated.
For me, Paris will always breathe its stories. I walk past Cafe de Flore, which has been drowned by tourists, and imagine Valentino Garavani and Karl Lagerfeld, who are young and for some reason always Smoking, in their place. In his life in General, there have always been cafes only on the Left Bank, and the necessary household stores — on the Right. He bought flowers at the Faubourg Saint-honoré, glasses at the opticians opposite the Westin hotel, and books at Galignani in Rivoli. (Just don’t think I’m a Stalker!) My friend Veronika worked there, and she and Karl spent hours discussing books – from Nietzsche (Lagerfeld worked on his publications as an editor in Germany) to Tolstoy. He had a high opinion of booksellers, remembered them all by name, and occasionally mentioned them in interviews. Veronica would get him rare editions of Mallarme or Aragon as a token of gratitude. One day when she came to work, a colleague pulled out a huge black bag of white Camellia from under the counter: “Your friend came by and brought you a present.” The bag contained a Chanel 2.55 bag.
On the day of his death, everyone wrote about what kind of person he was — kind and sympathetic. He easily invited young models to spend the night in Paris when they had nowhere to go. Among them were Naomi, Linda, and Carolyn Murphy. He was the first person to believe in Helena Christensen, and he called her into his advertising campaign. Everyone remembered another of his traits — Karl Lagerfeld could talk endlessly. Helena told me that they could talk all night — about books, childhood, food, architecture, writers, nature, wine. Interior designer Vincent darret claimed that Karl commented on every house in Paris that he passed or drove by in his car. Haider Ackermann is remembered as Lagerfeld, whispering, gossiping in his ear at parties. Few people suspected this during his lifetime, but now everyone knows.
Tsvetaeva once said that if Pushkin had not been killed, he would have lived forever. There are some people who just can’t leave, and Lagerfeld is one of them. Let us, as suggested by Helena Christensen, think that he was abducted by aliens — and they will definitely not bring such a person back.